It was sad to see one of our NSWPRL brothers pass away recently. Kevin Roberts was a Detective Inspector, a former first grade player and first grade referee. He was a humble man who was involved in NSWPRL for all the right reasons.
Kevin was a Life member of the NSWPRL, another respected Life member Alex ‘The Jet’ Ramsay and life time friend of Kevin’s, had this to say about him;
BILKO is a MAN, Kevin Roberts is his name, a Police Cadet early days, Policeman , Detective of Referee fame and played our game at Redfern Oval with South Sydney in all grades. HE mentored, coached and assessed new referees coming up the grades. LIFE MEMBER of the Police Rugby League . He played for No,21 Divsion and Redfern along with Cadets and also in the Rugby Union Team to play the Services. HE played in NSW P R L Rep Team AND most of all Bilko Refereed our games every week. Grand Finals, Rep games, when Kevin had a Test Match, first grade or any other comittment, he would still be there Wednesday in the middle for us. I have been privileged to play under his scrutiny, Train and do runs with him out of Bourke Street Academy and sit on Judiciary with Kev (as a Detective Sergeant) refusing to be verballed by a Constable (player) . KEV was reminded it was a football hearing. BILKO still had the last say and threw in extra evidence. He was seriously serious, seriously funny.
Kevin had a wit that just captured the moment in a sentence, one liner. ON the field he allow a bit of bash between us brothers. AS LONG AS IT WAS NECESSARY TO THE GAME! HE would indicate it was over and it was, or if you chose to sin , You was gone . A Game at Reg Bartley Oval one pleasant Wednesday Kev was minutes away of abandoning the game between Sydney District and Five Dock. KEVIN NEVER LOST SIGHT OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE GAME. THE GAME HE LOVED and we were so blessed. HE gave our Comp so much exposure and started a real relationship with the Referees Association. KEV,s last years were tough and we can imagine how difficult it has been for Ann and family. HE will not be lost in our history or thoughts for those who knew him, those who got sent by him or those who saw him. KEV stepped down, Billy Harrigan stepped up. Two good blokes, two good Cops. Both played and Rep’d with NSWPRL. I am lucky to have known BILKO. NSW Rugby League was better to have him. I was having a chat with Kev one day at Henson Park whilst he was assessing the performance of a referee, I said, “Mate who was the best Police footballer you have refereed”. Without hesitation Kev replied, “KUBYK, Ron Kubyk” RIP Kevin ‘Bilko’ Roberts, we have lost one of the good ones. JET
Here’s a photo of Kevin ‘Bilko’ Roberts in action.